Curtis grew up taking Suzuki violin lessons and playing trombone in the school band. A summer music camp introduced him to jazz music and improvisation, and Curtis fell in love with both! However, without guidance from a skilled jazz musician, he struggled to learn to improvise over chord changes, and hundreds of hours of practice didn’t seem to help him make much progress. While attending Brigham Young University, Curtis finally developed competent improvisation skills through understanding music theory and playing in the BYU Dixieland band. In Synthesis, BYU’s top jazz ensemble, Curtis toured Europe and was a featured soloist on the Synthesis: Live at Montreux album.
After receiving a B.M. in Music Education, Curtis began teaching band, orchestra, and jazz band at Orem Junior High, in Orem, Utah, and is now in his 16th year of teaching at this small Title 1 school. He recently completed his Master of Music degree at BYU in 2012. While pursuing this degree, Curtis was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship to fund the creation and publication of Improv Pathways, featuring recordings by the Crescent Super Band. His passion is to make the complexities of improvisation easy to grasp, and to help students master the basics of improvisation for a lifetime of musical enjoyment.